Interview: IIC Partners’ Board Chair Discusses Executive Search Market (part 1)

September 22, 2010 – The founder of Executive Talent International, an executive search firm in Singapore, Lim Chye Lian is board chair of global partnership IIC Partners. She has more than 20 years of Asia Pacific executive search and corporate senior executive experience, living in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney. Her successful track record placing CEOs, senior functional executives and technical specialists spans many industries and functions, including electronics, telecommunications, information technology, consumer, healthcare, chemical, financial services and engineering. In the following interview, Lim Chye Lian discusses the recovering search market and the economy’s impact on the industry.

How does IIC Partners work with its member firms to serve its clients?

IIC Partners is a global partnership of independent, highly successful and like-minded professionals who believe in delivering the highest quality retained executive search services to their clients, enabling their continued success. In order for clients to compete successfully in this uncertain and highly competitive global marketplace, there is an increasing demand for the best available executive talent, wherever they are in the world, the industry expertise to be a trusted adviser to the client in comprehensive understanding of the client's business, it's competition and the best talent available to do the job.

Describe the organization’s global reach?

IIC Partners provides global reach to clients through our presence in all the key centers around the world. This is evidenced by our growing trans-border activities where our partners collaborate seamlessly to meet our clients' needs for the best talent, regionally or globally. To date, we have exceeded all our trans-border activity targets, in terms of the number of assignments, total revenue and average fee.

Are there any areas in which the organization is looking to further expand?

The six key industry sectors where IIC Partners sees expansion in are our six practice group areas – life sciences, technology, consumer & retail, energy, financial services and industrial, so we intend to focus on strengthening our already in-depth expertise in these areas. IIC Partners has 53 offices across 37 countries and a total staff of 673 people, so we are very strong globally. We do, of course, seek to attract leading firms in areas we are not represented as long as they demonstrably share our values and meet our very high quality standards.

Describe the current state of the executive search industry?

The second quarter of 2010 revealed the highest quarterly rise in executive search industry revenue since the lowest point in the recent global recession. While we won't see revenue for full year 2010 achieving previous benchmarks, IIC Partners' members are reporting that more and more companies are assessing their executive talent requirements with an eye to recruiting for future growth. Still, executive search is changing and only the fittest will survive and they will be the firms that truly bring value and quality to their clients. The last two years have been a real test but IIC Partners actually strengthened. We've recruited a number of new members which are all in the top three players within their marketplaces so we are all very optimistic. Our revenue figure for 2010 is forecast at 24 percent up on 2009.

Next Wednesday, we conclude our interview with Lim Chye Lian.

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